As a freelancer, you typically need to send your clients an invoice before you’re paid for your work. That’s why it’s important to have a process that enables you to invoice and follow up with clients in a timely manner.
Streamline your billing process by using an invoice template, and learn how to customize our downloadable freelance invoice template.
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What should you include on a freelance invoice?
Regardless of whether you create a freelance invoice template in Microsoft Word, Excel, or as a PDF, there are some standard items to include on every invoice you send. The exact details vary depending on the type of freelance work you do, but every freelancer should bill for the basics — consultation, expenses, and the finished project.
If a client hires you to provide advice or instruct them on how to complete a specific project, it’s considered consultation work. For example, if you are a freelance copywriter, you might complete a website audit for a client to provide detailed advice about the type of changes they should consider making to their website. This type of work is typically billed at an hourly rate.
Project Related Expenses
Depending on the type of freelance work you do, you may have project-related expenses. The costs of materials, software, and tools needed to complete a project are all considered expenses, and you usually pass them along to the client.
For example, if you’re a freelance photographer who has a client requesting you to capture images of their wedding and place them in an album, the cost of printing the images, the photo paper, and the album are project-related expenses that should be billed to your client. Because clients typically like to know exactly what they’re paying for, you should enter each expense as a separate line item on the freelance invoice template.
It is common for freelancers to invoice clients on a per-project basis. When billing a client per-project, you should send an invoice for the total cost of the project. In some cases, you may also want to create separate line items for different parts of the project so the client can see the costs broken down.
Imagine you are a freelance web designer billing a client $2,000; the total might include logo design, website setup, and landing page design. If so, list each item as a line item with an individual cost that totals $2,000.
What should you charge for freelance work?
Freelancers set their own rates. And while your rates depend on your experience and quality of work, you should also take industry standards into consideration. As of 2018, PayScale indicates that freelance writers make an average of $27.50 per hour, while photographers, bookkeepers, and virtual assistants have average hourly rates that hover around $20 per hour. Consider using these figures as a base rate, then increase or decrease your base hourly rate to reflect your experience and industry expertise.
When should you send a freelance invoice?
It’s common for freelancers to collect a deposit upfront and send an invoice for the remaining cost of the project once the work is complete. But you can also require payment in full up front or accept monthly payments. But when you manage multiple freelance clients, it’s a good idea to set payment terms in advance and use those terms for all of your clients. Ensure your clients understand your payment terms upfront by including them in your freelance proposal. To make things even easier, consider automating your billing process by using QuickBooks Invoicing Software.